The Society of Jesus
Changing the World Forever
St. Francis Xavier, St. Ignatius of Loyola, St. Peter Faber
Three men, from differ backgrounds, with opposing personalities and separate life goals meet through their studies in Paris. Gradually merging their desire to be instruments of God, they become companions, co-founding the Society of Jesus in 1540 (a.k.a. The Jesuits) and go on to change the World forever.
The three men are Ignatius o Loyola (born in Spain, 1491), Francis Xavier (born in Spain, 1506) and Peter Faber (born France in 1506). All were to become saints. St. Ignatius of Loyola, a soldier who dreamed of military glory, St. Francis Xavier, handsome, athletic and worldly, both canonized on the same day in 1622, while their companion Saint Peter Faber, who Pope Francis admitted was a great inspiration to him, was canonized by Pope Francis in 2013.
With their vow of obedience to the Pope, the Jesuits became known as the “Pope’s Marines” heroically defending the Catholic Faith in the Counter-Reformation by their powerful arguments, preaching, and missionary zeal to regain souls wavering or lost to the errors of Martin Luther.
At aged 64, Ignatius, the “administrator,” passed away in Rome on July 31st 1556, when the total number of Jesuits was 1,000. Though much younger than Ignatius, Francis, the “missionary,” overcome by fever, returned to God on a faraway Chinese island (Sancian) on December 3rd 1552, aged 46, leaving behind an active missionary presence in India and Japan, while Peter, the “spiritual counselor,” aged 39, the most gentle of souls, master of Ignatian Spirituality, died of exhaustion in Rome on August 1st 1545.
By 1579, the Jesuits were running 144 colleges in Europe, Latin America, and Asia. By 1749 the number of educational institutions grew to 669 colleges and 235 seminaries throughout the World. Today the Jesuits are the single biggest Catholic religious order, with about 15,000 Jesuit priests serving God in over 100 countries.
There are countless books, biographies, and testimonies on the lives of these three magnificent saints but let us reflect a little on their incredible impact. Trusting in and offering ourselves to God and aided by the Holy Spirit, we too can, in our own local circles, hope to make a difference, if not to change the world, then at least to make positive contributions that inspire others to find God. Perhaps a prayer to God would be to offer ourselves to him to be used in the way he desires so that we can better serve him and our fellow brothers and sisters.
A.M.D.G: A World Is Not Enough (Loyola Productions)
Saint Ignatius of Loyola
Saint Peter Faber
Marking the Feast Day of St. Ignatius of Loyola – July 31st, By Neil Day